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Nov. 25, 2015

Chandler Police Officers, Firefighters Spread Holiday Cheer to Young

By Councilmember Terry Roe

When police officers knock at the door, residents typically aren't expecting them to deliver presents to their children. Unfortunately, too often children who have witnessed violence and crime perceive officers to be the bearers of bad news. During the holidays, this perception is changed as officers show a softer side by bringing gifts, hugs and smiles to the most vulnerable in our community.

With your support, the W. Steven Martin 911 Toy Drive makes it possible for public safety personnel throughout the Valley to pick up toys at a private warehouse and deliver them to children’s homes. This holiday giving tradition started more than 30 years ago and continues to be an extraordinary way for officers and firefighters to touch the lives of many local families.

Further back in time than I care to confess, while I was with the Mesa Police Department, delivering gifts provided by W. Steven Martin’s toy drive meant as much to me and our police family as it did to those who received them. In multifamily complexes our squad of deputized elves made it a point to carry extra gifts and cookies to share with neighboring kids who may have been missed when families were selected to benefit through this program. Information about the W. Steven Martin Annual Toy drive is available at 911toydrive.com.

Our Fire, Health and Medical Department is also involved in a large toy drive campaign. Working in collaboration with the Chandler Unified School District and several local non-profit organizations, they target disadvantaged youth from ages birth to 18.

If you can help, unwrapped toys, gift cards and cash donations are accepted at all Chandler Fire and Police stations; Also on December 12th, from 2-8 p.m. firefighters will be collecting items at the Chandler Fashion Center and providing free fire truck rides to those who contribute.

In addition to gift donations volunteers are needed to help sort and wrap gifts prior to December 18th. On that day, Santa will distribute gifts to registered children at the Chandler CARE center. To register as a family wishing to receive gifts or sign up to volunteer, call the CARE center at 480-812-7900.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to show kindness and generosity to our loved ones and those in need. As a community lets work together to help children celebrate with smiles and warmth in their hearts, while supporting public safety personnel and the message of peace and safety that they always carry with them.